In Brooklyn, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) announced this morning the creation of New York City Mass Timber Studio: a “technical assistance program to support active mass timber development projects in the early phases of project planning and design.”
The new NYCEDC subsidiary’s main function will be awarding $25,000 grants to “selected teams to conduct design, technical, and economic feasibility assessments for mass timber,” according to a press release. The Studio is currently accepting applications from design teams seeking to incorporate mass timber analysis and design work into projects.
“The Mass Timber Studio will help connect design teams and industry professionals with investment and technical assistance, will spur industry growth, and teach us lessons about how building code and policy can support clean, sustainable construction,” said Victoria Cerullo, acting executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice. “This program advances our PlaNYC goal of reducing the carbon footprint of the construction industry by 50 percent by 2033, and we are proud to support the architects, designers, and engineers who are working at the forefront of this crucial new sector.”
Mass timber is considered a much more environmentally sound material compared to concrete and steel. In 2022, the NYC Department of Buildings amended its Building Codes to include definitions for cross-laminated timber (CLT) and structural composite lumber (SCL), setting the groundwork for mass timber’s proliferation. New York City Mass Timber Studio’s goal is to make New York a world leader in buildings made of mass timber to reduce its carbon footprint.
“When DOB made changes to the city’s timber construction regulations during our most recent code revision cycle, we elevated sustainable construction materials by opening the door for cross-laminated timber and other mass timber building projects throughout the five boroughs,” said New York City Buildings Commissioner Jimmy Oddo. “With the opening of the New York City Mass Timber Studio, our partners at EDC and MOCEJ [Mayor’s Office for Climate and Environmental Justice] are now ushering the construction industry through that open door, providing needed support so that more eco-friendly timber projects can go from lines on paper to shovels in the ground.”
In addition to MOCEJ, the USDA Forest Service is also a partner on the venture by NYCEDC. The American Institute of Architects New York (AIA); WoodWorks, a nonprofit that provides education, resources and free technical support related to mass timber and other wood buildings; and the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) will each provide technical assistance.